January 14, 2020

During the cold winter months, it’s common to experience a lack of energy and motivation. Part of this problem can be the foods we tend to eat in the winter, such as carb-heavy “comfort meals” and sugary holiday treats. While all food gives us fuel, some provide more energy and mood-boosting benefits than others.

If you’re tired of feeling the winter “blahs,” try some of these delicious and good-for-you foods to help you stay energized all winter long.

Steel-cut oats

Cold weather can make us crave warm, comforting foods like pasta and baked goods. However, too many refined carbohydrates can lead to a blood sugar spike and crash. Instead, choose slow-release, complex carbs such as steel-cut oatmeal. Not only is oatmeal a great way to warm up on chilly winter mornings, but it’s also a good source of fiber and zinc. For enhanced flavor, add cinnamon, fresh fruit, or nut butter to your oats.

Root vegetables

Winter is the peak season of freshness for nutrient-rich root vegetables like yams, beets, carrots, and potatoes. These veggies are filled with vitamins A, B, and C, as well as iron, helping to boost your immune system and fight winter illnesses.

Green tea

Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee when you need a quick energy boost, drink green tea as a healthier alternative. Green tea has about half the amount of caffeine as coffee, plus it contains properties that help prevent illness. Rather than sugar, sweeten your tea with high-quality honey, which contains important antioxidants.

Salmon

Salmon is packed with lean protein and B vitamins to will help you maintain energy throughout your day. It also has a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which may improve brain function, lower cholesterol, and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Spinach and kale

Dark, leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are chock full of energizing nutrients including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, as well as vitamins A, C, E, and K. These leafy greens can be served warm or cold — try tossing them into a smoothie or sauteing them and adding to an omelet. 

More healthy eating reminders:

Don’t skip meals. Your body needs nourishment throughout your waking hours. When you skip meals, your blood sugar may drop. Low blood sugar can make you feel sluggish and may cause you to overindulge when you do eat again. To avoid this problem, aim to eat three balanced meals a day with small snacks during the morning, afternoon, and evening.

Avoid sugary drinks and snacks. Sugar provides a quick energy boost, but the resulting crash may leave you even more tired. If you have a sweet tooth, eat a more satisfying snack like nuts, dark chocolate, or yogurt. These foods will provide a slower, steadier stream of energy that keeps you fueled throughout the day.

Enjoy your meals. Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. But sometimes, older adults experience a loss of taste or smell that makes eating less enjoyable than it once was. Adding more flavor to meals with herbs, spices, and unique ingredients may help with this common senior health concern.

Likewise, making mealtime a more engaging social experience can help to improve older adults’ appetites. In a retirement community like Bethany Village, residents have the option to enjoy their meals together in a vibrant dining setting. Sharing meals and stories around the table is how many new friendships blossom!